BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE BILL NO: ab 716 SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN AUTHOR: dickinson VERSION: 6/14/11 Analysis by: Mark Stivers FISCAL: yes Hearing date: June 21, 2011 SUBJECT: Prohibition orders related to passenger misconduct on transit services DESCRIPTION: This bill eliminates the sunset date on the law that allows Sacramento Regional Transit and Fresno Area Express to issue prohibition orders banning persons from entering district property for determined periods of time for specified offenses and adds the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to the program. ANALYSIS: SB 1561 (Steinberg), Chapter 528, Statutes of 2008 allows Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) and Fresno Area Express (FAX), until January 1, 2012, to issue prohibition orders banning persons from entering the property, facilities, or vehicles of the transit district for determined periods of time for specified offenses. Specifically, current law allows RT and FAX to issue a prohibition order to a person who has been cited on at least three separate occasions within a period of 60 days for any of the following infractions committed in or on a transit vehicle, bus stop, or station of the transit district: Interfering with the operator or operation of a transit vehicle, or impeding the safe boarding or alighting of passengers. Committing any act or engaging in any behavior that may, with reasonable foreseeability, cause harm or injury to any person or property. Willfully disturbing others on or in a transit facility or vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior. Carrying an explosive or acid, flammable liquid, or toxic or hazardous material in a public transit facility or vehicle. Urinating or defecating in a transit facility or vehicle, except in a lavatory. AB 716 (DICKINSON) Page 2 Willfully blocking the free movement of another person in a transit facility or vehicle. Defacing with graffiti the interior or exterior of the facilities or vehicles of a public transportation system. Current law also allows RT and FAX to issue a prohibition order to a person who has been arrested or convicted once for any of the following misdemeanors or felonies committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or station of the transit district: Acts involving violence, threats of violence, lewd or lascivious behavior, or possession or sale of any illegal substance. Loitering with the intent to engage in drug-related activity. Loitering with the intent to commit prostitution. The maximum duration of a prohibition order is as follows: 30 days for a first order, 90 days for a second order within one year, and 180 days for a third order within one year related to infractions. 30 days if issued pursuant to an arrest for a misdemeanor or felony offense. Upon conviction for the offense the order may be extended to a total of 180 days for a misdemeanor and one year for a felony. A prohibition order is effective eleven days after delivery is deemed complete unless the person contests the proposed order within 10 days in accordance with procedures adopted by the transit district. The procedures must include, among other things, an opportunity to request an initial review and the opportunity, if the person is dissatisfied with the results of the initial review, to request an administrative hearing. The hearing must provide an independent, objective, fair, and impartial review of the prohibition order, and the hearing officer's employment and compensation may not be directly or indirectly linked to the number of prohibition orders upheld. If the transit district or hearing officer determines that the person did not understand the nature and extent of his or her actions or did not have the ability to control his or her actions, the prohibition order shall be canceled. If the person is dependent upon the transit system for trips of necessity, including travel to or from medical or legal appointments, school or training classes, places of employment, or obtaining food, clothing, and necessary household items, the transit district or hearing officer must modify the prohibition order to AB 716 (DICKINSON) Page 3 allow for those trips. If the person is dissatisfied with the result of the administrative hearing, he or she may seek judicial review of the administrative hearing decision within 90 days. Prior to implementing the prohibition order program, the transit district must establish an advisory commission that is tasked, among other things, with monitoring the issuance of prohibition orders to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and with providing the governing board of the transit district and the Legislature with an annual report on the program. Separate from the SB 1561 provisions, current law makes it a misdemeanor for a person to enter or remain upon without permission any rail transit related property owned or operated by a county transportation commission or transportation authority or for a person to interfere with, interrupt, or hinder the safe and efficient operation of the rail-related facility. Current law also provides generally that a peace officer, when arresting a person for an infraction, may only require the arrestee to present his or her driver's license or identification for examination and to sign a written promise to appear. Until January 1, 2012, a transit district inspector or supervisor whose duties include enforcement of district ordinances may arrest and issue citations pursuant to the peace officer provisions but may not make custodial arrests. This bill eliminates the sunset on the law described above that allows RT and FAX to issue prohibition orders banning persons from entering district property for determined periods of time for specified offenses and authorizes the Bay Area Rapid Transit District to issue such prohibition orders. The bill also: Allows the district to issue a prohibition order to a person who has been cited on at least three separate occasions within a period of 90 days, as opposed to 60 days, for specified infractions committed in or on a vehicle, bus stop, or station of the transit district. Provides that any person violating a prohibition order issued is guilty of a misdemeanor. Expands the current prohibition on trespassing on rail transit-related properties to all transit-related property. Removes the sunset on the provision of law allowing transit district inspectors or supervisors whose duties include AB 716 (DICKINSON) Page 4 enforcement of district ordinances to arrest and to issue citations for infractions, including requiring the arrestee to present his or her driver's license or identification for examination and to sign a written promise to appear. COMMENTS: 1.Purpose of the bill . According to the author, over the years RT has received a high number of complaints from riders regarding the safety of RT vehicles, parking lots, and passenger waiting areas. To encourage ridership and to reduce emissions associated with daily commuting, potential passengers need to feel that transit services are a safe alternative to driving. SB 1561 allowed RT and FAX to exclude passengers cited for certain offenses, helping to reduce passenger disruptions and improve overall service. The author believes that the Legislature should make the program permanent and improve the program by authorizing prohibition orders for repeat offenses over a longer period of time and, most importantly, creating a consequence for failure to obey a prohibition order. 2.Reports on existing programs . In its recent annual report, RT indicates that it issued nine prohibition orders based on misdemeanor or felony arrests between October 1, 2009 and October 31, 2010. None of the alleged violators contested the order. In addition, RT issued 129 infractions over this same period for violations on the list of infractions eligible for a prohibition order. The top three violations included: Willfully disturbing others on or in a system facility or vehicle by engaging in boisterous or unruly behavior (59%). Urinating or defecating in a system facility, except in a lavatory (17%). Interfering with the operator of the transit vehicle and impeding the safe boarding or alighting of passengers (12%). None of the cited offenders repeated the violations three or more times within the 60 day period. The annual report recommends that the law be strengthened in three areas: Allow the district to issue prohibition orders for three repeat infractions in a 90 day period, as opposed to a 60 day period, which this bill does. AB 716 (DICKINSON) Page 5 Include fare violations as one of the infractions eligible for a prohibition order. Establish a penalty for violating an exclusion order, which this bill does. FAX began implement its exclusion order program on February 1, 2010. In its annual report for 2010, FAX stated that it has issued 26 prohibition orders, all for misdemeanor and felony acts, with over half relating to battery of public transit employee or passenger. None of the orders was appealed, however FAX modified three orders and dismissed two. In the cover letter accompanying the report, FAX states, "It is very apparent to us that this law has helped reduce some of the behavioral issues aboard FAX buses." The report also noted, however, an increase in assaults on bus drivers during 2010. FAX speculated that this was due to increased unemployment. In addition to the recommendations above, FAX recommended that the Legislature expand the program statewide, allow transit providers to photograph persons subject to a prohibition order and post those photographs in FAX facilities to facilitate identification, and shorten the appeal period from 10 days to one day after an arrest for a felony or misdemeanor violation in order to allow for an immediate prohibition order. 1.Limited to nuisance behaviors . The bill continues the compromise reached in SB 1561, which allows RT and FAX to issue prohibition orders only for specified offenses that relate to behaviors that directly affect, disturb, or threaten other riders. The list does not include offenses, such as loitering or open containers, that may precede other violations but do not directly affect other riders per se. Nor does the list include offenses, such as fare evasion, that negatively affect the district without directly harming other riders. 2.Prohibition orders based on arrests . The bill permanently allows RT and FAX to issue prohibition orders based on multiple cited infractions and based on a single arrest or conviction for certain misdemeanors and felonies. By allowing for prohibition orders based on an arrest, this bill departs from the usual American precedent of innocent until proven guilty. The sponsors point out, however, that district attorneys do not prosecute many nuisance offenses committed on transit. When that occurs, transit districts have no other AB 716 (DICKINSON) Page 6 tools at their disposal to deal with nuisance behaviors. In recognition of this departure, the bill maintains the maximum length of an order based on arrest at 30 days. Such an order can be extended upon conviction of the individual. In addition, the bill maintains detailed due process procedures for persons to contest a prohibition order. 3.Double referral . The Senate Rules Committee has referred this bill to both this committee and the Public Safety Committee. Assembly Votes: Floor: 66-8 Appr: 17-0 Trans: 11-1 POSITIONS: (Communicated to the Committee before noon on Wednesday, June 15, 2011) SUPPORT: Sacramento Regional Transit District (sponsor) Ridership for the Masses Sacramento Area Council of Governments OPPOSED: None received.